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AMD's internal guidance suggests the company isn't very far from 45nm at all

Late last year, AMD executives alluded to a 45nm successor to the Barcelona core, dubbed Shanghai.  AMD's Senior Vice President, Marty Seyer, claimed Shanghai would specifically "bring further performance enhancements, as well as cache efficiency." 

Shanghai is apparently more than just a cache-bump.  AMD's documentation explicitly claims Shanghai will be the company's first 45nm processor.  However, with a die shrink additional cache is one of the immediate architecture options as the smaller node allows for more transistors to fit on the chip die.  Shanghai features 6MB of L3 cache.

Barcelona, the 65nm quad-core next-generation Opteron from AMD, is expected to launch this summer with 2MB of L3 cache.  L3 cache on the K10 architecture is shared over all four cores, yet each core has an independent L2 cache as well. More details on how this new cache operation works was detailed in June 2006 on DailyTech.

All other features found on Barcelona will also make an appearance on Shanghai: AMD-Virtualization (previously codenamed Presido), RDDR2, and HyperTransport 3.0.  Like Barcelona, Shanghai will also tentatively ship with dual and quad-core variants.  In 2008 AMD will tennatively add Secure Initialization to all its AMD-V platforms, including Shanghai.

Shanghai will also use the Socket 1207 interface, suggesting existing motherboards will have the opportunity to upgrade to Shanghai processors -- AMD processors are typically designed to work with existing motherboards on same-socket interfaces with simple BIOS updates.

AMD and IBM recently announced intentions to pursue the 45nm node with high-k metal gate technology.  Intel disclosed similar process technology information one day prior to the IBM-AMD announcement.  Late last year IBM detailed its plans for utilizing immersion lithography for its 45nm test shuttles -- Intel uses the same process as well.

In a recent interview with Reuters, AMD senior vice president of technology development Douglas Grose claimed "We'll be producing early products probably in Q2 of 2008, with full production in the second half."  However, Grose also claims the company is still anticipating whether or not it will use high-k metal gate technology in later 45nm revisions or if the company will wait until 32nm.

IBM will certainly play an integral role in any 45nm plans for AMD, though production on the 45nm node ramp is not something AMD has discussed at length.  AMD's first 65nm processors just hit store shelves a few weeks ago.

Intel's 45nm processor, codenamed Penryn, has already been taped-out.  Intel guidance suggests the processor will be available to the channel in Q1 2008.

AMD's Barcelona was previously labeled the K8L architecture by AMD President Henri Richard in March 2006. Late last year, AMD executives began using the name K10 instead, while internally the platform is labeled Greyhound.  On paper, Shanghai appears to be architecturally identical to Barcelona, but utilizes the smaller node.


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By ybee on 2/5/2007 3:14:57 PM , Rating: 2
It seems that moving to 45nm will not lead to a really big improvement in transistor performance (even with HK/MG) and transistor density. And if you consider that process variation may get much worse at 45 nm, actual benefits of moving to 45nm may be relatively small for both Intel and AMD.


By JeffDM on 2/5/2007 5:04:56 PM , Rating: 2
It's possible, but I don't think it will be so bad.

I think the 45nm process involved a new, higher-k dielectric, meaning better electrical efficency because the process makes chips that will "leak" less current.

I think Intel said that their 65nm process reached acceptable manufacturing yields far quicker than any other manufacturing process reduction they've done, they showed a chart showing how quickly yields increased for every process, and the trend was getting better, not worse. The 45nm process may very well follow that trend.


By ybee on 2/6/2007 12:09:43 AM , Rating: 2
The problem is not yields, but rather a growing variance of your transistor parameters. As process features get smaller, they are harder to control and it is a big problem.

When you design a curcuit you try to make all signal paths roughly the same length, so that the propagation delay is roughly the same for all inputs. But if each of your real transistors end up being randomly slower or faster than what you designed, such optimisations will not work very well. So some parts of your chips will be too leaky and hot, others will be too slow. Apparently Prescott had exactly this kind of problems - high leakage and limited clock frequency.

High k ON AVERAGE improves speed and significantly reduces transistor leakage, but since the process variation at 45 nm is likely to be much worse than at 90 nm you still end up with a lot of transistors that are too leaky or too slow.






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